Our Trial Talk Podcast aims to explore how the work we carry at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL is contributing to improving health in the UK and around the world.
The new series of our podcast is in full swing!
Each month, we hear from world-leading experts about the studies we carry out. We dive into trials on cancer, infections and neurodegenerative diseases; explore how public and patient involvement is shaping our studies; and discover new ways to run smarter clinical trials.
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Episode 1: The ARCHERY study – Can AI transform the way we plan radiotherapy treatment globally?
More than 50% of people living with cancer that need radiotherapy in low- and middle-income countries can't have it. Ajay Aggarwal presents the ARCHERY study, an exciting trial looking at the benefits of using artificial intelligence (AI) for radiotherapy treatment planning, which could improve access to high quality cancer treatment globally.
Episode 2 (part 1): Sharing results of clinical trials with participants
Clinical trials depend on people volunteering to take part, often at increased risk or inconvenience. Research shows that most trial participants want to know what the trial finds, but many never get to find this out. Annabelle South talks about why sharing results is important and how the Show RESPECT study tested different ways of sharing results with participants.
Episode 2 (part 2): Sharing results of clinical trials with participants
We have an ethical obligation to offer results to trial participants. Annabelle South explores the challenges of sharing results and talks about the best ways of communicating results from an ovarian cancer trial. As a final note, Annabelle reflects on what should be the next steps to ensure that all trial participants find out about the results.
Episode 3: The STREAM2 trial: How should we treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis?
For World TB Day, this episode explores the global burden of tuberculosis (TB) and how growing antibiotic resistance can complicate treatment options. Andrew Nunn, a Professor of Epidemiology, discusses his work on the STREAM2 trial, which investigated how treatment for multi-drug resistant TB could be shortened and made more acceptable for patients.
Episode 4 (part 1): Neonatal infections: The NeoOBS study and the global challenge of neonatal sepsis
214,000 newborn babies die of sepsis caused by infections that are resistant to antibiotics every year. This is a major problem worldwide, but disproportionally affects low- and middle- income countries. Reenu Thomas and Adrie Bekker, two neonatologists from South Africa, and Francesca Schiavone, Clinical Project Manager at the MRC CTU at UCL in London, discuss the challenges of treating neonatal sepsis and present the results from an observational study (NeoOBS), which assessed mortality rates of babies with sepsis.
Episode 4 (part 2): Neonatal infections: How the NeoSep1 trial will help treat sick newborns
Neonatal sepsis is a life-threatening infection that affects up to 3 million babies per year globally. In an effort to identify better treatments, the NeoSep1 clinical trial evaluates new antibiotic combinations for newborn babies with sepsis. To learn more about the trial, we speak to Adrie Bekker and Cristina Obiero, Principal Investigators of the trial in South Africa and Kenya, Reenu Thomas, a neonatologist from South Africa, and Francesca Schiavone, the Clinical Project Manager of the NeoSep1 trial in London.
Episode 5: How can clinical trials make the most of healthcare systems data?
Running a clinical trial means collecting a lot of data from the trial participants. But some of this data might be collected and stored in healthcare systems, as well as in clinical trial case report forms. What if we could avoid this doubling up, save time and resources, improve recruitment and reduce missing data? In this episode we explore the opportunities and challenges of using healthcare systems data in clinical trials with Dr Macey Murray and Professor Matt Sydes, two trials methodology researchers from the MRC CTU at UCL.
Episode 6: The REFINE trial: how can we improve the way we give cancer immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy drugs fight cancer by helping the immune system recognise and attack cancer cells. These drugs have revolutionised cancer treatment over the last decade, improving survival for many people with different types of cancer. However, researchers are still unsure of the best way to give immunotherapy, which can come with unpredictable side effects. In this episode, Clinical Fellow Sophie Merrick discusses how the REFINE trial hopes to address this problem, by testing if giving immunotherapy less frequently can still treat the cancer effectively, whilst improving the quality of life for patients, reducing side effects and costs.
Episode 7 (part 1): STAMPEDE: A new era for prostate cancer research
STAMPEDE is a long-running trial in advanced prostate cancer, in which nearly 12,000 men have taken part. Thanks to its multi-arm multi-stage platform design, STAMPEDE has tested many different treatments and directly led to improvements in the standard of prostate cancer care several times.
This Trial Talk podcast mini-series explores the trial’s journey from its inception in the early 2000s to the end of patient recruitment in March 2023.
Part 1 covers the landscape of prostate cancer treatment before STAMPEDE, as well how the trial was designed, featuring two researchers who lead the methodological and clinical sides of the trial: Max Parmar, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology and Director of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL and UCL's Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology, and Nick James, Professor of Prostate and Bladder Cancer Research at the Institute of Cancer Research.
Episode 7 (part 2): STAMPEDE: The role of the patient voice
Part 2 is about patient and public involvement (PPI) in the trial. David Matheson, a Reader at the University of Wolverhampton and STAMPEDE patient representative, shares his insight into the work this entails and why it is so important to champion the voices of patients. We also hear about PPI from the perspective of trial researchers, Max Parmar and Nick James.
Episode 7 (part 3): STAMPEDE: Impact and legacy
In the final part, Max Parmar and Nick James look back over the trial’s impact on clinical practice and platform trial design, and look forward to STAMPEDE2, sharing their hopes for the future of prostate cancer research.
Episode 8: MAMS-ROCI: Optimising treatments with the new MAMS-ROCI design
Innovative platform designs present an opportunity to run faster and more efficient clinical trials. Clinical trial methodology is a research area that looks at how to improve the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical trials. It focuses on developing and implementing new methods to help run trials faster and more efficiently, which will ultimately accelerate the discovery of new treatments. In this episode, methodologist Matteo Quartagno tells us about a new clinical trial design called MAMS-ROCI. It is a type of multi-arm multi-stage design that compares a range of different treatment durations, doses or frequencies to identify the optimal one.